Openings & Closings: Le Gourmand, Barachou, Boru Boru

Le Gourmand, a gourmet, gluten-free bakery, has soft-opened at 104 West 70th Street, the former home of Pain D’Epice and before that Soutine. The bakery plans an official opening in September, but is “working on the best recipies to make sure that everything is on point.”

Barachou is a French cream puff store opening at 449 Amsterdam Avenue between 81st and 82nd streets. The store is run by a French entrepreneur who raised $20,000 on Kickstarter to make a kind of cream puff called a “chou.” What is a chou? “A Chou is an elegant, bite-sized puff with an adorable beret of sugar on top and filled with the lightest, most delicious cream imaginable. This Parisian pastry has not hit the street of New York yet but BARACHOU’s mission is to change that.” Also, the plural of chou is choux, which is kind of fantastic. Barachou is building out its store now. You can follow its progress on Facebook. Thanks to Michelle for the tip. (Note: a commenter takes issue with the idea that choux are not available in NYC, saying Beard Papa’s offers them.)

Kosher restaurant Boru Boru at 774 Amsterdam Avenue at 98th Street closed on August 1 after about a year and a half in the neighborhood. Boru Boru served some very inventive dishes, including pastrami ramen. Owner Daniel Zelkowitz wrote in a farewell note that it had introduced “flavors never before available to the kosher world. We watched many of you walk in cautiously, skeptically, and walk out true fans. Every time we looked around the restaurant, tables full, conversation abuzz, audible mmm’s filling the room, it gave us a sense of satisfaction we had never felt before.”

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 44 comments | permalink
    1. David Morris says:

      Gluten-free replacing Soutine. Yuck.

      • Meg says:

        Aw, the owner is lovely and is really proud of his nutritious baked goods.

      • C. D. says:

        For people with Celiac Disease this is great news!

        • Jane says:

          Ah yes, a whopping 1% of the population that is disproportionately catered to.

          • Free Markets / Free People says:

            So this 1% minority should be IGNORED !?!

            1. This is MANHATTAN, not the former Soviet Union, and, thankfully, here there are no government bureaucrats “managing” the market-place.

            2. This is MANHATTAN, where, thanks to Good Old Western (GASP!!) CAPITALISM, a patron can get just about anything needed…even chocolate-chip-cookies up till 0300 a.m.

            3. And this is now an era of INCLUSIVITY, where every special need is catered to…NOT by some government agency but by INDEPENDENT entrepreneurs making (GASP!!)a PROFIT by answering people’s needs.

            • Jen says:

              1 Manhattan is a borough, not a country, and doesn’t have federal government managing it.
              2. Good Old (GASP!) Western Capitalism is surely covering these market niches. But it doesn’t cover (GASP!) basic things as decent education and health care. I would prefer health care and education over a gluten-free macaroon at 3 am.
              3. All in favor for independent entrepreneurs to make a profit, but why talking about an agency in pastry market? Agencies are necessary to address more important state and federal issues, so the mockery of them is misplaced especially when talking about a small neighborhood pastry shop.

              Politicizing and mocking everything in sight especially with random CAPITALIZATION doesn’t help to make your point across.

          • Mark Moore says:

            It’s called capitalism. If the market will support it then it’s not disproportionate. You’re free to buy baked goods at the other 999 places that sell them in the neighborhood.

    2. UWSHebrew says:

      The menu at Boru was too limited, I never went.

    3. mikey97 says:

      Boru Boru pushed out the great Joon’s fish store. What a waste for a waste.

      • David Morris says:

        Exactly. Just like the gluten-free dispossesed the fantastic Soutine.

        • EricaC says:

          I think Soutine was gone long before these folks came along. I can’t quite figure out the hostility – those who are not gluten-sensitive can still eat the goods, and if it is like By the Way Bakery on Broadway, we will all be able to enjoy the new place. And if not, if nothing else, it’s a business filling a store front. Why the kvetching?

          • RK says:

            It’s because the bakery isn’t catering to people with Celiac disease (although it’s a boon for them), it’s for the hordes of people who have somehow bought the line that gluten is bad for you, and that by eliminating gluten, you’ll be healthier. After a juice cleanse to rid your body of (unspecified) toxins because, you know, your liver and kidney aren’t enough.
            And non-gluten baked goods are still chock full of simple carbs like sugar and whatever replaces the wheat, which is the real culprit anyhow, as backed by, you know, science.

    4. Albert says:

      So if Boru had “tables full” why did it close?

    5. Josh says:

      “This Parisian pastry has not hit the street of New York yet but BARACHOU’s mission is to change that.”

      That is incorrect. There are plenty of places that sell chou in New York. Beard Papa’s on Broadway between 76 and 77 is one such place.

      I demand clarification and/or retraction!

      • Neighbor says:

        I personally think the Japanese interpretation of the French dessert is slightly different–Beard Papa’s are injected with fillings whereas the traditional French cream puff have their tops sliced off, then filled, and re-capped with their chou top. The Japanese style cream filling is also slightly airier and less sweet than the traditional French.

    6. FY says:

      If you’re celiac or have a serious gluten allergy / intolerance, please do your diligence on Le Gourmand before buying.
      It’s owned by the same folks as Muffin Cafe. As of last month they were baking for Muffin Cafe in the same kitchen (as they’ve done since Pain D’Epices had taken over from Soutine).

      • Lean L says:

        i’ve been waiting for the opening of this bakery for the longest time, but it seems there’s been delay and further delay till now. I will now check thoroughly the ingredients in their baked goods, and i plan to go the store to talk to them for fear of cross contamination from other gluten stuff from the same kitchen they use. Thanks for the warning!

    7. stu says:

      I gave Boru Boru a couple years at best. We went once. Was meh. Certainly too expensive for what they served.

    8. BenMech says:

      Why do we have so many french bakery shops up here?

      I would kill for a good Italian bakery instead.

      Also, can’t you just go to Beard Papa’s and get the same thing?

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Beard Papa’s is Japanese style French pastries and they have less than five different pastries.

        • lisa wager says:

          UpperWestSideHebrew – It’s all about the cream puffs at Beard Papa.

          Anything else is for companions who happen to be in the store with the lucky person who’s buying the Fantastic Cream Puffs at Beard Papa.

          • UWSHebrew says:

            i’m not knocking the cream puffs, they are outstanding and I would eat them every day if there were no rules to what you can put in your body. just that there is not much else to buy there.

    9. LKA says:

      What percentage of people have Celic disease?

      The percentage is very, very low. On top of that you you only appeal to people who are looking to eat baked goods.

      It is businesses like this that often are the reason why we see so many empty storefronts.

      A business needs to be a good business! It needs to be sound and reasonable and well thought out. You can’t open a business and expect the landlord to give you free rent or for the community to bail you out. Although, some business owners seem to think otherwise!

      • Stuart says:

        By the same token, what percentage of the UWS population is going to be using the protected bike lane on CPW? A very small minority…

        If it is under-used, do you think it will be dismantled?
        Or will it just be a relic?

        • LKLA says:

          Not sure what relevance a public bike lane has with a private bakery making gluten-free food.

        • AnDee says:

          Lol – you ever look at the bike lane at the end of the day? I ride it daily and there are always cyclists ahead of and behind me. You can fool yourself all you want, but bike ridership only continues to grow in NYC. If you want to improve street safety, focus on slowing down cars, not bikes (which, clearly, also need to obey the rules of the road).

        • Mark Moore says:

          I bet more people use the bike lane every day than would have used the parking spots.

    10. Jamie says:

      Where can I find a good, local, independent bakery that makes great bread as well as pastries? Also, how about a non-chain coffee shop? I’m new, just need a heads up.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Orwashers on 81st has the best baugette in the city and delicious Canadian style bagels. Whole Foods on 97th sells various great breads made by Grandaisy.

      • lisa wager says:

        Silver Moon, 105th and Bway. Fabulous french pastries and terrific breads. Also very good coffee.

      • kippervasser says:

        Also try Kirsh Bakery & Kitchen, which makes its own breads (and sweet treats). It’s on the east side of Amsterdam between 86th and 87th. https://www.kirsh.nyc/#!home

    11. IH says:

      A restaurant with a Orthodox kosher certification is a very difficult proposition, given both the extra costs and the mandatory day plus closed for the Sabbath. Thus, it becomes financially dependent on a clientele that has a limited palate. For those not limited to kosher, there is no lack of ramen restaurants.

      Boru Boru pushed the borders and introduced new tastes. May there be more such interventions. Four or five decades ago, when the economics were easier, the restaurant scene on the UWS was pretty boring too — and there were no kosher restaurants to Orthodox standards (viz. closed on the Sabbath) at all.

      • Sherman says:

        I ate at Boru Boru early this year. I thought it was Lousy Lousy.

        It was ridiculously overpriced and the food was fatty and salty.

        There seems to be more strictly kosher restaurants on the UWS these days because there are a lot more Orthodox Jews in the neighborhood.

        That said, kosher restaurants tend to do well when they keep it simple. When they try to be too exotic and upscale – like Boru Boru – they flop.

        It would be nice to have another old school kosher deli in the hood besides Fine & Schapiro (which isn’t even strictly kosher as open Saturdays).

        • IH says:

          Overpriced compared to non-kosher restaurants. So is kosher meat — a whole raw chicken goes for $5.59/lb at Kosher Marketplace, or even take a look at the Kosher meat section at Fairway and compare with the non-kosher meat in the nearby cases.

          This is part of my point. There is no way for them to compete with non-kosher restaurants price-wise because their cost base is so much higher, so they will always seem “ridiculously overpriced” in comparison.

    12. Susan says:

      The restaurant business is a tough one but Boru Boru followed an all-too-common kosher restaurant trajectory, shared especially by kosher meat restaurants. Start off with quality ingredients, draw in kosher-observant diners, then let the quality go rapidly downhill. Be sure to cut portion size simultaneously to ensure patrons will not return more than twice. However, if you offer an appealing, tasty, consistently well-executed product (bonus points for creativity) a kosher restaurant can thrive as well as any non-kosher restaurant and even appeal to non-kosher eaters. Exhibit A: Modern Bread & Bagel/ Arba (which happens to overcome brilliantly the challenges of being gluten-free as well)

      • stu says:

        You cannot compare Modern Bread/Arba – it has a non-meat niche product selection, so it can attract non-kosher clientele. Any regular kosher restaurant will generally only attract kosher diners (and their guests). The prices will always be higher than comparable non-kosher restaurants because the food costs are higher (slightly) and because they are closed on the main eating-out night and day of the week (sabbath). So if you are going to try something out of the box like Boru Boru, you will likely fail.

    13. lisa wager says:

      Beard Papa’s puffs are humongous and stunningly delicious. Just sayin’

    14. sally says:

      Bravo Gluten Free! Properly done it’s never “yuck” what a silly comment.

    15. sally says:

      For outstanding regular wheat bread, baguettes, pastries and coffee go to Silver Moon Bakery and Cafe 105 and B’way

    16. Francophile says:

      chouchou = a term of endearment or affection in French.

      As in <>

      (Also, cauliflower is choufleur.)

    17. Terence says:

      We thought that the cocktails, inventive dishes, and the owners charm made up for the higher-than-ramen pricing at Boru. Wanted to go back as soon as we left.
      We don’t happen to be kosher and feel that any food business which must be closed Friday and Saturday night is going to find it hard to replace the volume of eat-in and that they miss on weekend nights.
      We thought to go there at the end of a workweek or after a Saturday in the park only to find we couldn’t.